Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views: 4 March 2023

Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield discovers some interesting facts & figures as he surveys another week in travel


A West Australian family visiting South Australia just rented a Polestar electric car. It’s a good way to try out an EV, but is charging tricky? They had the car for five days, and it was fully charged when they picked it up, giving a 480km range. They spent three days in McLaren Vale (which isn’t much more than 40km from Adelaide) then the other two around the city. They didn’t have to charge it.


I was once on assignment in Exmouth, travelling with a tourism organisation, and a couple of days after getting home, was asked if there had been a problem. The organisation had been charged more than $3000 for a broken windscreen. The vehicle was fine when I left it in the carpark at Learmonth airport, and dropped the keys as instructed. Thankfully the photographs I took (which had the day, time and location embedded) proved that, and saved my hosts more than $3000.


Whale sharks are back at Ningaloo. The first guests on a boat tour with Exmouth-based Ningaloo Discovery swam with the ocean’s biggest fish on Monday, February 27. Light-aircraft operators like Ningaloo Aviation have been spotting whale sharks for a couple of weeks. Ningaloo Discovery is now running daily whale shark tours, while other whale shark operators are set to start their tours from Exmouth and Coral Bay over coming days and weeks. The whale shark season typically builds up between March and July, triggered by the annual coral spawning during the full moon, though the season runs to September. The 2022 whale shark season had a 97.14 per cent interaction rate as more than 36,000 visitors to Ningaloo swam with whale sharks.


More than 90 per cent of Australian travellers responding to a global survey for insurer nib Travel will take one to three trips this year.

+ More than 70 per cent say they are confident to book travel again.

+ Less than 9 per cent said they were still worried about COVID-19.

+ And less than 5 per cent were concerned about border closures. (Remember border closures? WA was famous and infamous for them.)

+ More than 10 per cent of respondents said they were planning to take four or more trips this year.

The Australian results are taken from the nib Travel survey — a global sample of 29,486 travellers in December 2022. nib Travel chief executive Anna Gladman says: “We have seen the demand for travel insurance grow substantially this year. The fact that all of our policies include some COVID-19 cover hopefully provides travellers with a further sense of confidence when they are booking a holiday.”


We are continually asked by readers what we think will happen with airfares. For example: “We are looking forward very much to once again seeing our many friends in Singapore, Japan and South Korea but are waiting for the fares to come down to a lower level. When do you think this is likely to happen?” I think we’re looking at these prices for at least 24 months. Competition will start to have an effect once every airline is fully operational again — but fuel prices, labour prices and landing fees won’t go backwards, so while I see a “softening”, that’s all it will be, I think. In other words, if ever you see an airfare you think is fair, take it.

+ PS As Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor was first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office.


One might expect that the busiest cruise port in the world would be Hong Kong or Singapore or New York City or Southampton. In fact, it used to be Miami . . . but not any more. New data shows that the world’s busiest cruise ship port is now Port Canaveral, on Florida’s Atlantic coast. That might be a surprise . . . except that it is less than 100km from Walt Disney World. In fact, it is often listed as “Orlando”, as cruises which start or finish here are often an “add-on” for visits to the theme park capital.

But it is only just the world’s busiest port. Port Canaveral’s tally was 4,072,396, while Miami came in with 4,022,544 — a difference of 49,852 people.


A couple of useful and authoritative websites:

+ Maybe I’ll never get another email or phone call from a reader asking what electrical socket adaptor they need for wherever.

+ cdc/gov/travel/destinations/list The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of what health precautions and vaccinations are needed globally.


EHL Insights is a research company which specialises in delving into hospitality-related topics in order to educate. And its recent Top Hospitality Industry Trends report throws interesting light on how the industry fared during and the pandemic and where it is now.

It states: “Many businesses didn’t survive, others adapted swiftly and hung on in there, and some were born out of the chaos that ensued, with innovative concepts tailored to our new normal. Technology has been evolving at breakneck speed.”

The report concludes:

+ Standardisation can no longer be the norm. “It is becoming critical to personalise and tailor the services to the needs and preferences of the traveller.”

+ Value can be created by focusing on niche markets: “But be careful . . . this requires to genuinely think about the value proposition of your offer and not ‘simply branding and rebranding’.”

+ Exploit technology as an accelerator for business — both in the room, and before and after the trip. “This will . . . contribute to the emergence of an ever more individualised offer.”

+ Social responsibility is a moral and economic obligation. It is critical for corporations to become more sustainable — “not just green, but real sustainable business models”.

+ Develop more responsive and resilient business models. “Tourism, despite ever-growing flows of travellers, will become riskier and more prone to crises” as the number of travellers steadily continues to grow. “No longer content with (always) ordering the usual go-to pizza, Chinese or Indian takeaway, consumers are now looking to take things up a notch.” Some food and beverage venues are offering extras atmospheric candles, QR-code playlists and unexpected freebies.

+ Manage talents actively. “The days of long-lasting employee retention as well as passive, hierarchical management styles are definitely gone. Attracting, developing and keeping the right talent into and within the hospitality industry remains a core challenge."